Daily Media Briefing 29th August

Daily Media Briefing


Posted in: Daily Media Briefing, Employees, Environment, Policy & Research

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August 29, 2013


Campaigners target RBS over carbon intensive loans

A study by the UK charity, the World Development Movement (WDM), has claimed that the Royal Bank of Scotland’s (RBS) 2012 carbon emissions could be up to 1,200 times higher than the figure reported by the bank.  The WDM calculated the results through estimating the emissions resulting from RBS’s loans to coal, oil and gas companies.  If the results are included, it increases RBS’s 2012 footprint from 735,000 tonnes of CO2 to 911 million tonnes of CO2.  RBS is reported to have made loans of over £43 billion to fossil fuel companies in 2012, compared to £167 million to renewable energy firms in the same period. The WDM said that the new figures are evidence of the extent to which the UK finance sector is “bankrolling climate change” and is calling on the UK Government to force banks, pension funds and other finance companies to publish the emissions from the coal, oil and gas extraction companies that they finance.  RBS is reportedly questioning the validity of the research.  (World Development Movement; The Scotsman)


Reports criticise “piecemeal” UK energy policy

According to Ernst &Young’s latest Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index, the US, China, Germany and the UK are the top four countries respectively in which to invest in renewable energy.  However, Ernst & Young have warned that the UK Government needs more than “piecemeal policy details” to convince investors and urged the development of a “credible and consistent energy plan.” However, the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change said that green energy policies were paying dividends and that the UK was “punching well above its weight in attracting investment in renewables”, with over £29 billion of private sector investment since 2010. Meanwhile, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has called on the UK Government to act on “overlapping policies” which it claims deter investment in the energy efficiency industry.  The CBI’s report, Shining a light: Uncovering the business energy efficiency opportunity, claims that energy efficiency could boost economic competitiveness and that streamlining policy strands to create a consistent framework could make energy efficiency investment more attractive.  (Business Green; Blue and Green Tomorrow)


Volvo project cuts truck emissions by 80 percent

The Swedish car manufacturer Volvo has announced that following transportation efficiency research and development within the Sweden based Climate Smart City Distribution project, it has reduced carbon emissions from 400 distribution trucks by as much as 80 percent, although the average reduction was reported to be 30 percent.  The project, which ended in spring 2013, was a partnership between vehicle manufacturers and transportation companies, which included DHL, DB Schenker and FordonsGas.  The study achieved the emissions reductions by replacing conventional diesel distribution trucks with vehicles using three different technologies: renewable fuels such as biodiesel and biogas; hybrid technology; and methane diesel fuel.  The Environmental Director of Volvo, Lars Mårtensson, said that the most difficult challenge was not developing new fuels or vehicle technology, but improving the efficiency of transport operations both across the company and though the differing infrastructures across countries. (Environmental Leader)



US workers unite for pay rise

Amid the controversy of low wages and union rights for fast food employees in the US, fast food workers at fast food chains and retailers across the country are planning to strike today.  Employees at McDonald’s and retailers such as Macy’s are demanding the right to be allowed to join employment unions and be paid a minimum wage of $15 an hour.  Strikes are expected in approximately 35 large cities, including Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.  Analysts said that this is the largest labour movement in the history of the fast food industry.  Steven Ashby, a professor at the University of Illinois School of Labour and Employment Relations, said that the employees “basically feel like, ‘we’ve got nothing to lose.’” (The Times*)



EU says China guilty of giving illegal aid to solar industry

The European Union (EU) has reported that China’s Government has been giving Chinese solar companies illegal subsidies, which has allowed Chinese firms to sell approximately €21 billion worth of solar panels at below cost in Europe last year, putting European firms out of business.  Although the EU and China agreed on a minimum price for solar panels from Chinese manufacturers in July 2013, a nine month investigation by the European Commission (EC) has found that China has broken World Trade Organisation rules by giving cheap loans, land, interest free credit and tax breaks to companies.  Chinese companies have denied receiving illegal subsidies and said that economies of scale allow them to sell at lower prices than their European rivals.  EU governments will decide in December 2013 whether to back the July price deal brokered by EU can run until 2015. (Reuters)



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